Exploring: Postcards from a skip & a train ride through three Italian cities.
Short bursts of liveblogging from trips around the world.
This trip took place during: Feb 2018
Oh boy, these STILL feel a little too long. I'm wordy! I'm going to try to be less wordy! Right after our Paris wanderings, Jane and I took the overnight train over to Italy and engaged on a stop through a city a day. I haven't been to Italy since I last lived there fifteen years ago, so it was fascinating to see how much it had changed... and how much it hadn't.
Day 1: Milan
The Milan Duomo is still one of my favorite cathedrals in the world, though it looks like they've stopped allowing people to bring food & wine up to the top to picnic on the roof. The white marble gothic spires still look insane up close, and the stained glass windows & statues are pretty choice. Look at the musculature on this dude on the left. Jane said it was funny that they would be so anatomically correct with the legs and arms, but so weird about the torso part. She would know - she's about to enter the medical field. IDK, maybe this saint dude was part crustacean.
We ate lunch in the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel right next to the Duomo. Did you know this was the first mall in the world? It went over so well that a bunch of shopping locations afterwards decided to name themselves "Galleria"s as well. I instagrammed the Milanese risotto we had, but tbh I was actually more excited about the dish on the right: artichokes covered in parmesan! It's artichoke season right now and I was thrilled I didn't miss out on fresh ones.
Day 2: Florence
So back in Freshman year of college, I actually ended up spending the entire year in Florence. My university had this program where it sent some of us international kids to this international location rather than offer them a place in the main New York campus proper. My guess was it was some clever tactic to squeeze more money out of the Freshman class in the way airlines overbook - by Sophomore year, you'd probably get a couple of drop outs and more space anyhow. That's pretty clever though, and considering it meant I spent my first year getting fat off tuscan bread and proper olive oil and endless jugs of Chianti while surrounded by some of the most famous art works in the world, I'll call it a win-win.
Having eschewed the crowds of the Ponte Vecchio during the daytime, we crossed a much less people-heavy version of it at night to get back to Santa Maria Novella. I'm glad we saved it for our walk back - the river reflecting the purples of dusk was beautiful.
Day 3: Rome
Our hotel was in the Monti region of Rome and had a direct view of the Colosseum from its balcony, so that's where we headed in the cold, rainy morning. It took an hour of waiting for a ticket, and then about 15 min of waiting for an audioguide that basically said everything the posters said, and then we froze our little Gladiator butts off as we toured around these glorious ruins. Still into it though.
We went to see the Pantheon, and then Piazza Navona, and then we stopped in for a late but very much needed lunch at a restaurant called Saltimobocca. Oh fam, the Cacio e Pepe pasta reminded me what good pasta was, but since I've instagrammed that already, here are the other two also fantastic dishes we had: minestrone (which was fantastically warming considering we were coming in from the damp) and this prosciutto, olive & mushroom pizza.
Also, the place might be magic because when we left it, the sun had miraculously come out. It was like a completely different day.
Seriously, look at this: Plaza Venezia when we passed it in the morning coming from the Colosseo, and then it as we crossed again a couple of blocks away from it again at around 3pm. The beautiful weather meant we got enough of a second wind to hit up basically ALL THE SIGHTS.
We walked first to and up the Spanish Steps, which was inundated with people who were also freaking out about the sunshine...
Then to the Trevi Fountain, where we joked at how there were so many tourists there you could've made a second Trevi Fountain out of them.
And, since the day was still very pretty and we still had the stamina, we decided to cross over to the Vatican side, stopping by the front of Castle Sant'Angelo and catching a quick glimpse at St. Peter's Basilica. They also both looked inundated with people so we admired them from a distance, while I regaled Jane with stories of all the people I had snuck behind and assassinated in both locations in game.